What to Expect for 2018
Many of the methods in place in the recycling and waste management industry are antiquated. Developments in the industry can lead to major changes that will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of how trash is handled. Technology is always changing things for the better, but setbacks are always impacting momentum. With all of this in mind here are five recycling trends we expect to see for 2018.
Robotics and machine learning are poised for big developments in 2018. For example, robotics has the potential to make easy and effective work of sorting recyclables. Self-driving sanitation trucks are also in development. These are recycling trends that have been in the works for a while now and are promising to deliver big results. These technologies are almost to the point where they can be implemented in real-world situations and put to the test.
2. Ease of Recycling
Recycling has typically been a challenge for residents of apartments and multi-family dwellings. The curbside collection method that works so efficiently for single-family homes just does not translate to other types of living arrangements. Without an easy solution in place, most of the recyclable materials generated by renters tend to end up in landfills.
The introduction of the reusable recycling bags is a major recycling trend that simplifies the process for renters. Making it easy to sort and store recyclables empowers renters to dramatically increase the number of items recycled and improve the efficiency of the waste stream.
3. Circular Economy
The notion of a circular economy that uses resources for as long as possible has been around for a while and elements of this methodology have slowly been introduced over time. However, we currently fall significantly short of achieving this goal.
A recycling trend for 2018 will be to further advance a circular economy. Many startups, major corporations, universities and governments are collaborating and seriously looking into creating a circular economy that is effective and profitable.
4. Smart Cities
Smart cities are the notion of using sensors to collect data and using this information to manage resources efficiently. Smart city development impacts all resources within a city, including waste management. This builds on using robotics and other forms of technology in the industry.
Smart city technology may be used to map the most efficient route possible to streamline the waste collection process every day. Managing data allows for recycling and waste management officials to better serve their city and still handle items in an efficient manner.
5. Continued Collaboration for Packaging
An ongoing movement has been taking place to reduce unnecessary packaging. Manufacturers have worked to find a balance between ensuring their products are protected without using more packaging than is needed. Many manufacturers have or are in the process of fine-tuning their packaging, and it is likely this recycling trend will continue to grow and expand for 2018.
Flexible packaging is at the forefront of this issue. In an effort to reduce materials some manufacturers have turned to flexible packaging. This category includes flexible plastic packaging used for snack pouches, pet food bags and more. This seems like a win in terms of reducing the amount of trash generated, but the packaging itself presents a challenge to many recycling facilities. In this instance, the benefits of using less packaging may be offset by the difficulty in recycling the packaging that is generated. Members of the recycling industry have been working with manufacturers to create solutions that utilize fewer materials that are easy to recycle while still ensuring goods are safe and secured.
New Developments for the New Year
Big things are in the works for the waste management industry, and in particular how recycling is handled. By integrating technology and improving collection methods and collaboration between the industry, manufacturers and others, a whole host of possible recycling trends are on the verge of improving things for the better in 2018. Stay in the know when green news happens and sign up for our newsletter!